How to Design a Chorded Pad Instrument in FM8

Using FM8 for sound design sessions in the film and music industries is an incredible way to show off the flexibility of FM synthesis as one of the best approaches to creating custom instruments that embody atmosphere and emotion.

This sound is very complex sounding, and yet simple in it’s structure. It provides you with a chorded pad with a single note played, which makes for a perfect instrument to use in a very wide range of projects. From ambient soundscapes, to dramatic and sweeping music, it is also easy to customize for different moods. This FM8 tutorial will walk you through the steps taken to make this kind of sound possible.

Beginning with the Expert Ops window, we will first set up the operators. There will be two main sounds routed to the main output, and these will come from the D and F Operators. The rest of the operators will be used to modulate these two main oscillators. Operator D is being modulated by operators A, B and C in a chain. Operator E is routed into Operator F. Each sound is then partially panned to different sides of the stereo field.

The envelopes for each operator are then set up using the Link feature to control delivery and development.

Next the Master window. Here I have increased the Unison Voices to two and, turned up the Detune and Pan parameters. The Analog value is also turned up a bit.

Now a total of six different effects are added. The Tube Amp is used to help boost the over volume output as well as add a slight amount of distortion. The Pahser, Tremolo introduce more movement to the natural phasing already occurring. The Reverb, PsycheDelay and Chorus/Delay all add more room for the sound to develop and reverberate in.

The last touch is to make some adjustments to the Timbre via the Easy/Morph window. Here some subtle harmonics are added, as well as some extra variation from the LFO. You can see how the LFO is set up on the Expert Mod window.

All of this makes for a complex sound that results in a rather excited wave when looking at the Expert Spect Window. Just imagine the different applications this sound has! Below is an audio sample of a few notes played in succession.

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I hope you have enjoyed this FM8 tutorial and found it useful in better understanding how to design this type of sound using FM synthesis. If you have a request for a future post, let us know by sending a message our way. Thanks for stopping by!


Category: FM8 Tutorials